2010 Sabes Invitational 17U Preview

After a complete overhaul of the teams and schedule, let's rearrange and revise and take another look at the 17U division.  I'll have live results on my twitter page throughout the weekend..  Read the schedule here.

Pool A (Howard Pulley Blue, KC Truth, Bound 4 Glory, Kingdom Hoops Black)
1st pool means we start with the home team Howard Pulley Blue.  The top Pulley squad features Joe Coleman, if healthy.  He sat out this past weekend in Kansas with a bad wheel (foot or ankle).  Marvin Singleton, Nick Latzke and a trio of sophs, Johnny Woodard, Isaiah Zierden and Siyani Chambers pick up the slack.  KC Truth is in the pool.  They lost to MN Comets Elite last week.  Bound 4 Glory returns to the metro from Iowa.  They lost to WOTN Gold in the round of 16 at the PNR tournament.  Kingdom Hoops Black rounds out the pool after going 0-3 in pool play at the Jayhawk including losses to WOTN Gold and Team GetShook.  High scoring guard Tim Olejniczak played here with the Iowa Mavs last year.

Pool B (WI Playmakers, SD Heat Black, WOTN Gold, Magic Elite)
The top Wisconsin Playmakers squad is here with sharpshooter Paul Jesperson.  He's ranked the #2 player in Wisconsin.  But also keep an eye on Wisconsin's #9 ranked player Phil Romback.  Shane Taylor from St. Bernard's also on this squad. South Dakota Heat's East squad is in this pool with Worthington's 6'7 center Jalen Voss and 6'5 forward Casey Schilling from Ellsworth.  WOTN Gold is in this pool.  Lucas Brown and Marcus Alipate lead the way for WOTN.  The drama in this pool is Magic Elite.  It could be Bruce Weston's Maroon squad with Marcus Nolen or Leon Garvis and his Elite squad with the much improved Robert Ndondo-Lay.  TBD as that's a mess right now.

The most balanced of the 4 pools, don't be surprised to see this come right down to the final pool game.

Pool C (Playground Elite, KC Keys, Dakota Schoolers, Kingdom Hoops Red)
WI Playground Elite bring Nimrod Hilliard back after his all tournament performance for NESYB 2 weeks ago.  #23 WI Wing Kevin Mays leads the way along with center Cinmeon Bowers.  Both played really well last weekend in Indiana.  Mays was also impressive at the East Metro Showcase in January.  #20 WI Tre Burnette who played with his old club the WI Starz 2 weeks ago is on this roster too.  Keep an eye on a couple of dirty work wings #25 WI lefty Iman Johnson and #21 WI Chris Hawkins.  Dakota Schoolers bring a big lineup of 5 kids 6'5 or taller.  Kingdom Hoops Red was 2-1 at the Jayhawk in pool play but lost to HP White by 20 in pool play. 

Pool D (Houston Hoops, KC Pump N Run, Kingdom Hoops 17s, Comets Elite-Hanson)
This pool features last year's runner up Houston Hoops.  Off to a rough start in EYBL play at 1-4.  Their dynamic guard duo is back and still only sophomores, frightening.  That's J-Mychal Reese and #6 nationally ranked by Scout.com, LJ Rose.  KC Pump N Run makes their annual trip.  Big forward Christian Kirk can play in or out.  The tradition of point guard from Releford and Releford and Mike Dixon continues this year with Corey Hilliard.  Kingdom Hoops 17s feature soph Wesley Staten, a former Iowa State verbal.  Another star soph Peter Jok will play 16s.  Rounding out the pool are the Comets Elite with Jayme Moten (hopefully his hair has grown back) at the point and the 4/5 duo of Blake Maslonkowski and Simon Krych.

Best game of all the pool play is Houston Hoops vs KC PNR at 2:50 PM Saturday.  A shame these teams are in the same pool as arguably they are the best 2 teams besides Howard Pulley Blue.

Pool E
Finally in pool E we have Howard Pulley White.  Clarence Thomas and Terrance Averyheart give this group guard firepower.  Grassroots is in the pool likely with Calvin Godfrey and who knows what else.  Rumor has it that they were limited to a small number of seniors.  RBS is a Chicago based squad.  WOTN Black is their 2nd team.  Shane McSparron leads that group but also keep an eye on Lake City forward Nick Bobb.

Pool Predictions: 
Pool A: HP Blue, Bound 4 Glory, KC Truth, Kingdom Hoops Black
Pool B: WOTN Gold, WI Playmakers, Magic Elite, SD Heat Black
Pool C: WI Playground Elite, KC Keys, Kingdom Hoops Red, Dakota Schoolers
Pool D:  KC PNR, Houston Hoops, Comets Elite Hanson, Kingdom Hoops 17s
Pool E: Grassroots, HP White, WOTN Black, RBS All-Stars

The 4 teams from Pool E will play the last play finishers from the other 4 pools in pigtail games at 6:40 on Saturday.  Those 4 winners then get the 4 pool winners in round of 16 games at 9 PM Saturday night.

Sunday features the quarterfinals at 9:20, semifinals at noon and then to the main gym for the championship at 2:40.


  1. I haven't been to the Sabes tourney in a couple of years but this used to a very nice tournament. I'm sure the Pulley people are a bit disappointed with the turnout. I'm assuming this is more related to a "live" viewing issue than anything.

    In the past Pulley has "discouraged" local teams from participating. Wonder if they are going to take another look at that policy.

    Even last week's "Gopherhawk" in Kansas seemed way down from last year. Hopefully there are some ideas on keeping tourney's like these alive. It's been fun over the past few years attending tourneys like this. You got the Vegas level talent without the heat!

  2. Maybe the rule change for no April viewing is taking effect. Though next weekend's 2nd session of the EYBL in Houston will be huge (like the old Kingwood Classic).

    I thought the GopherHawk (I'm stealing that from you) had a great field besides the Minnesota teams. Compton Magic, St Louis Eagles (wish their 17s were here), Dream Vision etc was a better field than I probably saw in Denver last year


Have a different take than mine? You can provide your take here.